The reason older adults decide to keep — or go back to — working differs for everyone, but there is one common trend: traditional retirement is being redefined.
Maybe you’re working now and looking for something that better aligns with your passions. Maybe you’re retired but want to pick up a full- or part-time job again. Or maybe your financial situation requires you to go back into the workforce.
Whatever the reason, there are countless opportunities to find paid work that speaks to your gifts and fulfills you as a person. You owe it to yourself to find the right fit.
Earning income in retirement doesn’t have to look like a traditional job, either. Mentorship, apprenticeship, and entrepreneurship benefit you and others — while putting money in your pocket.
A new vocation can also be a source of renewed energy in midlife and beyond. For many, new passions aren’t uncovered or pursued until later in life: Julia Childs hit her stride in cooking, Colonel Sanders in chicken, and Samuel L. Jackson in acting.
Focus on possibilities: There is no better time to pause and take stock of the talents and passions you’ve cultivated throughout your life. What possibilities exist today that didn’t exist 5, 15, or 25 years ago?
Did You Know?
Someone just starting a career can expect to work for 60 years or more. As the baby boomer generation ages, it’s now common to have four or five generations in the workplace:
- One in four workers will be older than 55 by 2024 — double what it was in 1994.
- Close to half of the new jobs created in 2018 were filled by 55-and-older workers, making seniors the age group with the biggest job growth that year.
- People age 55+ own 50.9% of U.S. small businesses.
- Almost one in three workers expect to be 67 or older when they retire.
Adapting to Today’s Workforce
If you are planning to re-enter the workforce or change jobs, you may need to add to your skill set. Some level of technological skill is required just to apply for many jobs. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help:
- AARP has a trove of advice for job seekers, including a list of age-friendly companies, specific job listings, and advice on upgrading job skills.
- Encore.org, a resource community built on helping people find maximum fulfillment in their second act, features both inspiring case stories, practical advice, and connections.
- Indeed and Monster provide resume tips to help keep your resume updated, relevant, and competitive.
Age discrimination in the workplace is very real. We hear story after story: The manager who negatively described you. Not being considered for that promotion opportunity. The higher performance standards you were held to. The assumptions someone made about your abilities that perpetuate aging stereotypes. The after-hours event you weren’t invited to.
Sometimes, age bias isn’t always obvious. It can also show up in the day-to-day details like:
- Culture (e.g., tone and quality of relationships)
- Communications (e.g., accessibility of images, fonts, language)
- Physical office (e.g., furniture and equipment)
- Professional development (e.g., opportunities and teaching tools)
- Expectations and accountability
- Retirement transitions
- Organizational structure
- Knowledge sharing
- Perks and offerings
You deserve to have the best work life possible. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against any individual age 40 or older with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.
If you have not reached full retirement age, make sure you understand how much income you can earn without jeopardizing your social security. Learn more in our Planning, Documents, and Insurance section.
Build your community: There is value in multigenerational workplaces. You bring experience, wisdom, and a perspective that your younger coworkers don’t. Lean in to what makes you, you.
Seeking Assistance with Tax Preparation?
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program offers FREE tax service for taxpayers of all ages, especially adults 50 and older. There is no fee and AARP membership is not required.
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers can prepare most personal income tax returns, including those with basic self-employment income. They are not trained to do business returns such as corporate, partnership, limited partnership, farm income, or rental income. These types of returns are beyond the scope of the Tax-Aide program. Click here for a list of locations and phone numbers.
TroveStreet is Here to Help
Take advantage of our free TroveStreet Planning Tool, which you can access directly in your dashboard or download as a PDF. Want someone to walk you through it? Sign up for our Aging Navigation & Plan Creation package and a TroveStreet navigator will be by your side through the process.